Director: Brad Bird
Cast Headliners: Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy
Original Release Date: May 22nd, 2015
One always feels an interesting feeling when at the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland or Disney World. It’s an idealized version of the future as seen in its day filled with some great rides (Star Tours) and some lame (Stitch). But one can’t help but think we are only a part of the way to the future as seen there. We have a long way to go. That’s the theme of this film of the same land. Like Pirates of the Caribbean before it, Tomorrowland is a film that capitalizes on the ambience and theme of that attraction area and turns it into a live action film.
After a bizarrely 4th wall breaking intro where Frank Walker (George Clooney) and Casey Newtown (Britt Robertson) argue how the actual film should be told we are brought to the 1960s. A young inventor Frank goes to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland (how meta!) and makes the acquaintance of the mysterious David Nix (Hugh Laurie) and the equally smart as him Athena (Raffey Cassidy). Shenangins transpire that leads to him stumbling upon the titular city of the film where skyscrapers rise into the sky and robots fly around.
After its all too brief appearance this great world is dropped for a while to show how Casey gets involved in affairs. If I were to share specifics would spoil it and since this movie’s prime strength relies upon the element of exploration. When they do appear, the technology and enviroments brought upon by Casey’s mysterious pin are great. There is a wonderful optimistic sense of things.
However, Casey’s performance falls into times cheesy and Clooney as the adult Frank isn’t too far behind though it fits with his trademark charisma. The dialogue feels a bit hammy and some scenes drag out. Action is good but only in the few instances when it appears. But that’s to be expected from a Brad Bird live action film; his snappy style is evident at least.
While it’s a fun (and mostly family friendly adventure despite the use of “hell” a lot and disingrating robots) and bright burst of optimism it is stopped from greatness by two main things. The pacing is kind of weird and builds up very slowly to be something unique. Then once the crazy other world of science that is the titular city is reached, things take a hard dip into some hard science and a villian’s motivation that is very unclear. A lot of bang and boom happens, but it’s consequence is not really felt.
It’s got some rough spots, but the visuals and unique setting make it not a waste of time by any means. There’s some fun sequences and if one can deal with the stars and story it’s a decent experience. You are better off taking a trip to the park for something truly magical however. 7.85 out of 10